A Poem about the Environment: Field Exercises

I haven’t written any poems for a while, so after asking all my students in one class to write a poem for a competition (they could choose between six different themes), I decided I would have a go myself. I wrote two poems on the topic on the environment (one of the topics). Here is one of them

Field Exercise

Field Exercises

Four men slip between the cedars
Treading carefully towards the shoreline.
The sky begins to lighten
Revealing heavy grey clouds
That muffle the forest
Leaving only the faintest footsteps,
Leather boots atop a carpet of fallen needles,
And the gente lapping of waves against the shore.

Camouflaged silhouettes emerge from the treeline
and step out onto the small pebbled beach
Taking care not to scatter the stones

A dense low morning fog
half way across the lake
Rolls towards them
Across the surface of the placid water.
The men stop to take in the
Shimmering shades of silver, grey and
Verdant green.

The fog rolls ashore
and into the forest.
One man speaks
Just loud enough to be heard through the gas masks
“Anyone hear the all clear?”
Each of the others shakes his head,

The four men stand slouching a while longer
Cradling their sub-machine guns.
Their masks and their metal
Marking them as intruders
Lost and alone
In a beautiful world.

Spoiler Alert: I wrote this as an example of a 1) a simple description poem and 2) writing from experience. While in university, I did some training in the armed forces reserves. This poem is simply describing a scene during one of our field training exercises. The environment there was breathtakingly beautiful, yet there we were all carrying weapons, wearing gas masks (just to add an extra challenge to the training) and practising warfare. If you are wondering why we all had sub-machine guns instead of rifles, it is because we were training in a medic unit and that was the weapon for medics (small, light and useful for defensive suppressing fire). What I hope the reader would get out of the poem is that the four men, who are by all rights a part of nature, seem to no longer belong and are at odds with its abundant beauty.


~by longzijun


Return to Writing



One thought on “A Poem about the Environment: Field Exercises

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s